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Useful Idiots is an informative and irreverent politics podcast with journalist Matt Taibbi and podcaster/writer Katie Halper. Episodes feature on-the-road coverage of the 2020 campaign and exclusive interviews, with humor, commentary and dissection of the politics news of the week. Join Matt and Katie as they examine important stories that have slipped through the cracks and what the media got wrong – and laugh about whatever is left to laugh about.
 
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933, one in four Americans was out of work nationally, but in some cities and some industries unemployment was well over 50 percent. Equally troubling were the bank panics. Between 1929 and 1931, 4,000 banks closed for good; by 1933 the number rose to more than 9,000, with $2.5 billion in lost deposits. Banks never have as much in their vaults as people have deposited, and if all depositors claim their money at once, the bank is ruined. Mi ...
 
I'm a pilot obsessed with flying and all things aviation. This podcast series covers more than a century of commercial aviation and how its shaped the world. Aviation is now safer than its ever been, but it took one hundred years of learning and often through accidents and incidents to reduce the risk of flying.
 
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What does defunding the police really look like? Sam talks to Austin City Council Member Greg Casar about how decreasing the city's police budget has worked— and what they aren't getting quite right yet. Then, Sam talks to KUT reporter Audrey McGlinchy about how Texas, a Republican-led state, has responded and what that could mean for other cities …
 
Longtime friend-of-show Abby Martin, maker of the remarkable documentary Gaza Fights for Freedom, drops in for a Zoom chat to discuss the outbreak of hostilities in Israel. Subscribe at usefulidiots.substack.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesBy Useful Idiots, LLC / Cumulus Podcast Network
 
How transformative are President Biden's economic and infrastructure proposals? Depends on what gets passed. The comparisons to FDR and LBJ miss the vastly different political landscapes those presidents faced. Sam talks with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about how this moment compares to those past presidents' efforts at once in a ge…
 
The housing market is booming— but who actually benefits? Sam talks to Jerusalem Demsas, politics and policy fellow for Vox, about what so many are getting wrong about housing. Plus, Sam revisits his 2020 conversation with Ziwe Fumudoh, whose comedy variety show Ziwe premieres on Showtime on May 9. Then, in honor of NPR's 50th anniversary, Sam play…
 
As the groundbreaking series Pose comes to a close in its third and final season, Sam talks to Mj Rodriguez about the end of her role as Blanca, the loving and lovable house mother at the center of the show. They also chat about the start of her career as Angel in Rent, channeling grief into her character, and LGBTQIA+ perseverance. You can follow …
 
Friend-of-show Dr. Cornel West has been in the news a lot of late, and not always in a happy way. At the end of February, the brilliant professor of Philosophy, Divinity, and African-American studies announced he was leaving his longtime employers at Harvard University, and moving back to Union Theological Seminary, where he began his teaching care…
 
Even as vaccine access expands in the the US, the pandemic is far from over globally. Sam talks to Aarti Singh, a resident of New Delhi, about what it's been like living there as India's COVID-19 cases skyrocket. Then, Sam talks to public health activist Achal Prabhala about why rich and poor countries have unequal access to vaccines. Plus, Sam cha…
 
Patti Harrison is known for bringing her absurd, caustic, yet charming comedy to supporting roles on shows like Search Party, Broad City and Shrill. But now she's in a starring role in the romantic comedy Together Together. In it, Harrison plays a young single woman who agrees to be a gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, played by Ed …
 
A nation is gripped by a police-abuse trial, and Republicans and Democrats both find a way to suck about it Subscribe at usefulidiots.substack.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesBy Useful Idiots, LLC / Cumulus Podcast Network
 
Sam chats with NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans about constant images of Black pain in news and in entertainment. Then, he turns to comedian Ashley Nicole Black to talk about the new season of "A Black Lady Sketch Show" and Black joy. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.…
 
Sam talks to actor and comedian Eric André about the evolution of the prank genre with his Netflix hidden-camera comedy Bad Trip. They chat about the complications of making a prank show while Black, who André would never prank, and why everyone could use a little absurdism to warp their realities. — Watch the full extended version of this intervie…
 
Talking with the former presidential candidate about the progressive candidate summit, smears, and "liberal bullshit." Subscribe at usefulidiots.substack.com to hear the extended interview with Marianne Williamso Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesBy Useful Idiots, LLC / Cumulus Podcast Network
 
What's it like to cover the Derek Chauvin trial against the backdrop of continued police violence? Guest host Ari Shapiro talks to Minnesota activist and journalist O'nika Nicole Craven. Then, he talks to Maurice Chammah, staff writer at The Marshall Project, about the origins and evolving symbolism of the thin blue line. Plus, Misha Euceph on the …
 
Bowen Yang often plays delightfully weird characters on SNL. But recently he appeared as himself on the show to address the uptick of Asian American violence in the U.S. Sam revisits his conversation from last fall with the comedian, who discusses becoming the first Chinese American cast member on Saturday Night Live, what it was like to do the sho…
 
We interview some guy named Noam Chomsky (extended interview coming next week), get to the bottom of why we broke up with Rolling Stone, and scrutinize the thrilling PBS interview of former al-Nusra/al-Qaeda leader-turned-very-handsome-man Abu Mohammed al-Jolani. Katie taps her beard-crit background, while we both investigate the two most important…
 
Corporations have spoken out against the new restrictive voting law in Georgia, but to what end? Sam talks to Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick about whether that tactic actually effects change—and whether it's just a performance. Plus, Sam talks to author and historian Jules Gill-Peterson about the historic flood of anti-trans bills in state legislatur…
 
It's been a few years now since President Trump adopted (and then later reversed) his administration's zero-tolerance policy that separated parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. But what's happened to those families since? And what is President Biden doing now to help? Sam talks to Aura Bogado, senior investigative reporter and producer a…
 
[This interview was recorded before the Governor of Arkansas Vetoed the anti-transgender health care bill].] The Arkansas Senate just passed a bill with a title straight out of dystopian fiction: the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, or SAFE. Roundly denounced as the most extreme law of its type ever passed, the bill is one of abo…
 
Sam talks to Kim Tran, an anti-racist author and consultant, about her article in Harper's Bazaar on how the diversity, equity and inclusion industry has strayed from its movement roots. Plus, what's an NFT? And why are people buying them? And what are they again? Sam breaks it all down with tech reporters Bobby Allyn and Erin Griffith to explain t…
 
Hanif Abdurraqib's latest book is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In it, Abdurraqib researches the impact of Black performers on American culture throughout the past several hundred years, touching on everything from minstrel shows to Soul Train, the concept of the "Magical Negro," and playing spades. Sam talks to A…
 
In this Useful Idiots interview, Matt Stoller walks us through some of the myths about big tech. Many members of Congress seem to believe the firms don’t intervene enough; Stoller explains that their massive existing levels of intervention are the problem, that the financial incentives of what he calls “surveillance advertising” move firms like Fac…
 
It might have seemed like mass shootings were down last year, but 2020 was actually one of the deadliest years for gun violence in decades. Sam talks to Abené Clayton, reporter for The Guardian, about why some shootings get more coverage than others. Plus, Sam talks to Shirley Li, staff writer at The Atlantic, about Minari and the way stereotypes i…
 
Jesse Singal and Katie Herzog, co-hosts of the podcast Blocked And Reported, join Useful Idiots to talk about the failed campaign to get Singal driven off of Substack and what, according to Herzog, some of Singal's most vocal critics have in common with QAnon. They also talk about how they met and why they started their podcast and how they're not …
 
There are few paths to freedom for people serving life sentences in prison on federal drug charges. Guest host Ayesha Rascoe talks with Brittany K. Barnett, lawyer, entrepreneur and author of A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom, about her role in the fight to free incarcerated people from these sentences. They talk about high…
 
We spoke to legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg about the nuclear threat nobody is talking about, the end of the world and how he, despite all that, stays hopeful. But before diving in with Ellsberg, Matt and Katie talk about, of course, Dems sucking, Republicans sucking, things being weird and terrible and even bring you a ston…
 
Useful Idiots, the podcast Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper started in the summer of 2019 at Rolling Stone, is moving. After eighty episodes that included interviews with the likes of Tulsi Gabbard (our first guest), Roger Waters, Andrew Yang, Erin Brockovich, Michael K. Williams, Noam Chomsky, Marianne Williamson, Adam McKay, Bernie Sanders, Nadya Tol…
 
In the wake of Tuesday's mass shooting in Atlanta, guest host Ayesha Rascoe talks to critical race theorist and professor Jennifer Ho about the history behind anti-Asian racism and what it means to be an Asian woman in America. Then, Ayesha chats about her latest obsession, the reality dating show Married at First Sight, with fellow devotees Delece…
 
A special episode from our friends at NPR's Planet Money: A show all about the things we're obsessed with. Sam joins Planet Money co-host Karen Duffin to dig into obsessions including the Beyoncé of economics, an actual musician, Lubalin, finding deep inspiration in shallow web posts, and curried chicken. Also, we stage an intervention, and, we bri…
 
We take stock of a year that challenged us emotionally, culturally and politically. Sam talks to Hira Deol, a former contestant on Big Brother Canada, about what it was like to learn about the pandemic while sequestered away from the outside world. Plus, Sam chats with culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the gradual return to our "normal" live…
 
Sohla El-Waylly called out her previous employer, Bon Appétit, during the magazine's racial reckoning last summer and resigned. The chef and food star is now a columnist at Food52 and star of the YouTube series Off-Script with Sohla. She and Sam talk about racism in the food media industry (and everywhere else), The Cheesecake Factory, and certain …
 
Sam joins the Pop Culture Happy Hour team to talk about the French Netflix series Lupin with culture writer Bedatri D. Choudhury and co-hosts Aisha Harris and Glen Weldon. They discuss the twisty caper's exciting (if implausible) plot, dissect its take on race and class, and gush over Omar Sy's performance. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenA…
 
Stella Moris, lawyer and life partner of Julian Assange, joins the show to discuss the current status of Assange's case and it’s implications for global journalism. Hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper discuss arguments for and against independent journalism outlet Substack. Merch link: https://teespring.com/stores/useful-idiots Learn more about your…
 
A new case before the U.S. Supreme Court could jeopardize the power of the Voting Rights Act. Sam talks to Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer for Slate, about what's at stake and how so much of the current debate goes back to Reconstruction. Sam also chats with contributing writer for The Atlantic and podcaster Jemele Hill about how tv viewership acro…
 
Torrey Peters' new book Detransition, Baby, is about navigating identity, commitment, parenthood and divorce. The three main characters, a pregnant cis woman, her partner who is a detransitioned man, and his ex, a trans woman, are all considering how they might come together to create a family. Sam talks to Torrey about writing for trans readers, c…
 
What's an awards season when many theaters are still closed and it's harder to track which movies and shows deserve buzz? Louis Virtel and Ira Madison III, co-hosts of Keep It chat with Sam about who's being selected and who's being overlooked, and whether the pandemic further exposes awards' irrelevance or not. Plus, Sam talks with Maria Garcia ab…
 
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